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Our Strategy

Last update: JAN 2019

As one of the leading research hubs in the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong holds a position of global significance when it comes to understanding the opportunities and challenges between East and West. The unique geographical location and characteristics of the city not only provide the Department of Geography with new opportunities and inspiration for research directions, but also facilitate international interdisciplinary research collaboration and networking opportunities, thereby allowing us to generate high-quality, cutting-edge research and sustainable solutions.


The department has strategically defined (i) China, (ii) Environment, and (iii) Urban and Transport as its three research thematic groups. By deploying faculty members’ research expertise and positioning itself as a global leading research hub, the department is able to focus on: (i) China and examine its emerging impact and influence on the world by reframing and recontextualizing its strategic position through the massive shift in economic and social structures, as well as its rapid process of urbanization over the last 40 years; (ii) Environment and study effective adaptation and mitigation measurements into adverse climate change, water pollution and shortage, as well as scarcity of other natural resources that are facing cities in the current era, thereby preserving our fragile ecosystem for future generations; and (iii) Urban and Transport by drawing on qualitative and quantitative research methods to analyse the opportunities and challenges of rapid urbanization, as well as improve the growing complexity of transport planning and design, mobility and resilience, and safety and management in mega cities.


In alignment with the university’s and faculty’s mission, the department is able to engage even further in international, innovative, and interdisciplinary (3+1 Is) impact-related research output and activities within and across disciplines under the Strategically Oriented Research Themes (SORTs), consisting of the two main areas of Smart Systems and Sustainable Society (S4) and Intelligence, Data, E-Commerce, and Automation (IDEA), as well as the faculty’s research clusters of Contemporary China and Cities 2050. These research themes motivate faculty members to strive for new knowledge creation and collaborate in large-scale research projects, and to embrace the values of research diversity and dynamism for the betterment of society.


In pursuit of excellence, the department integrates dedicated research directions, teaching philosophies, and community outreach programmes to advance all three thematic groups. In terms of research scope, capitalizing on the advantages of the proximity to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, China, and the world, the department enjoys privileged access to numerous cities. This allows us to probe a wide-range of fundamental issues with applications to (i) China, (ii) Environment, and (iii) Urban and Transport, and enables us to support interdisciplinary collaboration locally, regionally, and internationally. Our long-established research directions and refined thematic groups provide a solid base for the department’s bachelor, taught, and research postgraduates’ programmes, all of which aid students in their professional development. The department also strives to facilitate networking and knowledge dissemination through events and activities that influence not only academic debate but also encourage public participation and discussion, which, in turn, help shape and guide public policy, and promote a wider understanding of sustainability, as well as improve quality of life, transport efficiency, and safety in Hong Kong, China, and beyond.

To support all our three research thematic groups, the department has developed the following strategic framework (Figure 1) to facilitate knowledge creation through international collaboration and to disseminate knowledge through academic research, teaching and mentorship, and community outreach programmes.


Generate Impact to the Community

Develop International and Interdisciplinary Collaborative Research Networks

Pursue Excellence and Leadership in Research

Nurture the Future

Figure 1. Four strategic objectives of HKU Geography’s Research Strategy.

Strategic Objective 1: Pursue Excellence and Leadership in Research   

Faculty members in the department actively engage in producing high-quality, cutting-edge research studies and playing major research leadership roles. The research output is not only beneficial to academia but also the wider community.


Strategic Objective 2: Develop International and Interdisciplinary Collaborative Research Networks

Through the continuous support of peer-reviewed competitive grants and other external funding resources, the department provides a conducive environment for developing international, interdisciplinary, and intersectoral collaborative research networks.


Strategic Objective 3: Generate Impact in the Community

Faculty members actively take on leadership roles on government advisory boards and in community services to contribute to policy and governance.


Strategic Objective 4: Nurture the Future

Our alumni and students gain invaluable experience through inspiring mentorship and effective teaching from faculty members in internationally-recognized research studies.

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